Equipment 1: bike

I thought that it would be useful and maybe interesting to post a few comments on the equipment that I used on this ride.

The MOST important item of equipment was my Dawes Horizon bike – here seen fully loaded at John O’Groats. It is a touring bike, which these days are comparatively rare. It is quite a heavy bike, but the frame rides the rough roads of the UK well while carrying quite a load.
I added a retractable bike stand for this trip. Some argue that there is always somewhere to lean a bike again but I used the stand most days at some point.
I had four bags attached to the bike. My saddlebag was a Topeak medium bag.
My saddlebag holds a compact tool kit, a puncture repair kit, tyre levers, oil, a small torch and a spare inner tube
My main bags were a pair of 35 litre waterproof Altura panniers. These were more than enough to contain everything that I needed (note that I was not camping) and were truly waterproof. They were lent to me by brother Guy, to whom I am very thankful.
My bar bag was also by Topeak and also loaned by my brother Guy. This has many compartments and was very useful for holding things needed instantly – e.g. my small camera. It could be removed easily, so I also used it for my valuables. It is not waterproof, but has a waterproof cover (that sits in the furthest forward pocket. I clipped my front light onto the front of this bag.
Also on my handlebar was (left to right), my Lumos Helmet direction indicator, a bike bell (essential) and a Garmin 1030 GPS navigation unit.

For navigation, I used a combination of a Garmin 1030 unit and routes devised on the cycle.travel website. The latter is strongly recommended (I compared four different navigation methods: Garmin, Strava, Google and cycle.travel; the last won easily. There may be other packages out there that I have not tried). The Garmin unit was annoying in a number of ways – it is very “touchy” – in other words the lightest touches could make it suddenly change. When it was working, it was fine in telling you where to go next, and warning you of forthcoming changes in the track. I have not compared with the many other navigation units that are available.

This mirror on my offside handlebar end is one of the best things that I purchased for this trip. Thoroughly recommended as a way of easily checking if anything is behind you. There is a need not to overfill the offside pannier to avoid losing visibility.
I carried a kryptonite U lock on the frame – sadly also essential and heavy.
I also carried a Kryptonite cable to extend the reach of the lock or to tie in other parts of the bike. I did not use this very much, but might be essential on other routes.
Two water bottles were essential on some warmer days. I would perhaps recommend a bottle with a flip top cover – my bottles did not have one and the mouthpieces occasionally got a bit grimy from road spray.
A small air pump proved essential, though the small bottles of compressed air/CO2/nitrogen may be more compact.
Finally in this post, I took day-running lights in the form of front and rear See-sense Ace lights. These LED lights flash very brightly and are responsive to the light conditions. They could run all day and are rechargeable and very light. There are other day-running lights, but I strongly recommend these. I did not plan to ride by night so did not take any night lights.

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